Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Quick and easy weeknight dinner that my kids won’t complain about. Spaghetti has always been easy, but this makes it way easier– one pot, dump and go, then eat!

This is a Instant Pot spaghetti and meat sauce recipe without using a pre-made jar sauce. I’ve been making this sauce for years and was worried it wouldn’t come out quite right this way because of the short cooking time, but it’s absolutely delicious and I’ll be making it this way from now on.

Start by chopping a white onion and mincing some fresh garlic. This is half of a very large white onion at about a cup.

While you can use that minced garlic that comes in a jar, fresh garlic is much more flavorful and, as Anthony Bourdain has said, if you can’t be bothered to chop garlic you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

Yes, that’s 7 cloves of garlic I’m using! It turns out to be about 4 tablespoons. I absolutely love garlic. I don’t think anything can be too garlicky. This doesn’t actually come out too strong in garlic flavor but it does come through. If you for some sad reason do not like garlic as much as me, you can half the amount.

Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode. If yours allows for different sauté temperatures, choose medium-high. Once heated, add 2 tbsp olive oil and onion. Allow the onions to cook for a few minutes until they start becoming translucent. Add garlic and stir for another minute or two.

Add ground beef (or substitute ground pork or Italian sausage) and cook until mostly browned. It’s best to use a lean ground beef here so that there isn’t much grease to be removed. Once ground beef is browned, hit “Cancel” on your Instant Pot.

Finally we’re here at the dump and go part. Add a 14.5 oz can of tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. Add 2 bay leaf, 2 tsp dried basil, 2 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp fennel seed, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.

Next the noodles. This is a 16 oz package of noodles. Break them in half and add to the pot.

Submerge them into the sauce and try to arrange them in a way so that they aren’t too parallel to one another to reduce sticking together.

Place lid onto your Instant Pot, set it to sealing and set on Manual or high pressure for 5 minutes. If you prefer a mushier noodle, 6 minutes will work better. Keep in mind, though, this varies a lot on your noodle type and brand. The cooking time for my noodles on the package was 11 minutes, for example, and you’re going to want to half that time.

After the 5-6 minutes are up, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for another 5 minutes. Do a quick release after 5 minutes. Careful! There might be some splatter. I like to put a towel over the valve just in case.

Take off the lid when it’s done depressurizing and give it a good stir. If some noodles did stick together, just separate them with a fork.

That’s it, time to eat! Garnish with parsley and parmesan cheese, if you’d like. Sadly I was out of parsley today.

Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword spaghetti, spaghetti without jar
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 people


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup white onion
  • 4 tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz stewed tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper or to taste
  • 1 package spaghetti noodles


  1. Chop onion and mince garlic.

  2. Turn Instant Pot on to sauté mode. Once heated, add olive oil and onions. Sauté a few minutes until onions begin to turn translucent.

  3. Add garlic and sauté another minute or two.

  4. Add ground beef and cook until beef is mostly browned.

  5. Hit “Cancel” and add all other ingredients. Tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, herbs and spices. 

  6. Break spaghetti noodles in half and place into pot. In order for them not to stick try to keep them separated from one another, it’s okay if they stack. 

  7. Place lid on Instant Pot, set to sealing and set on Manual or high pressure for 5 minutes. NOTE: This is for al dente noodles. If you want them softer, set to 6 minutes.

  8. Once the 5 minutes are up, allow to naturally release another 5 minutes. 

  9. Quick release (set the valve to open) and Instant Pot will depressurize. Carefully open lid and stir ingredients together. If noodles have stuck together, simply separate them with a fork.

  10. Serve with shredded parmesan and parsley for garnish (optional). 

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